San Francisco Mayor London Breed has proclaimed 2/4/24 as Willie Mays Day in San Francisco, honoring the icon, baseball legend and man who has used his life to lift others.  Willie Mays was a teenager playing centerfield at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, when a scout for the New York Giants suddenly rose from his seat and bolted to the closest pay phone.  “[T]hey got a kid playing center field practically barefooted that’s the best ballplayer I ever looked at! You better send somebody down there with a barrelful of money and grab this kid!” Little could the scout imagine the heights to which the rag-tag kid would soar. On Willie Mays Day, we celebrate the grace, the dignity and, most of all, the joy that Willie exudes wherever he goes. We celebrate the example he sets as a mentor and a beacon. Whether inspiring youngsters at the Hunters Point Boys and Girls Club that bears his name or boosting the confidence of starstruck rookies in the Giants clubhouse, Willie puts everyone at ease. “I love kids,’’ Willie says. “I love baseball. There’s a connection, and I’ve tried to make a difference with both.’’ Though Willie is renowned throughout the world, San Francisco is home. Now and forever, Willie Mays Days will remind us that where we begin in life is just a snapshot of who we are at a particular moment. There will be more, and more after that. “This country,’’ Willie says, “is made up of a great many things. You can grow up to be what you want. Anything is possible, man. Don’t believe otherwise.’’
June 20, 2024 Giants vs. Cardinals Rickwood Field in Birmingham, AL Where Willie Mays played during his teenage years